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November 10, 2005

Strategic Caribou Reserve: House RINOs Scuttle ANWR Drilling

For now:

- A nearly two-decade effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling suffered a severe setback at the hands of moderate House Republicans just as Congress was about to deliver it to President Bush as his top energy priority. GOP leaders scrapped the drilling plan in a search for just enough votes to pass another of Bush's priorities, a $51 billion deficit-reduction program cutting spending on food stamps, Medicaid, child support enforcement and other domestic programs through the rest of the decade. Also axed was another conservative priority, a plan allowing states to lift a moratorium on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts.

Despite those two actions late Wednesday night, Republican leaders still appeared to lack the votes they needed for the budget measure, postponing the opening of debate Thursday as they leaned on more wavering GOP lawmakers.

...
The budge
t bill is immune from filibuster, but drilling proponents suddenly found it hard to get the measure accepted by a majority of the House. That's because Democrats oppose the overall budget bill, giving House GOP opponents of drilling in the Arctic enough leverage to have the matter killed.

Twenty-five Republicans, led by Rep. Charles Bas of New Hampshire, signed a letter asking GOP leaders to strike the Alaskan drilling provision from the broader $54 billion budget cut bill.

The moderates knew they had leverage, given the narrow margin of GOP control of the House. It only takes 14 Republican defections to scuttle a bill, assuming every Democrat opposes it.

Still, removing the Arctic oil drilling provision may incite a backlash from lawmakers who strongly favor it, which is a big majority of Republicans. House and Senate GOP leaders are likely to push hard for the final House-Senate version of the bill to include it.

Why doesn't Bush speak to the nation about both reducing the deficit and drilling in Alaska? Make it simple: If you oppose this, you can blame yourselves for high oil prices and ever-increasing dependency on foreign sources of oil.

Thanks to Sue Donhim for suggesting we rename ANWR the "Strategic Caribou Reserve."

It comforts me greatly to know that, should Canada ever attempt to choke our economy by embargoing the sale of caribou, we'll have plenty of those useless moss-covered simu-Bullwinkles* stored up to get us through the emergency.

* As Dennis Miller dubbed them.



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posted by Ace at 03:04 PM

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